Sabres’ Kane: ‘I’m definitely glad to be moving on’

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Its been a crazy eight days for the newest member of the Buffalo Sabres.

It all began on Feb. 3 when Evander Kane was a healthy scratch as the Winnipeg Jets visited the Vancouver Canucks. It concluded Wednesday afternoon when the 23-year-old was dealt to Buffalo in a multi-player trade.

Speaking to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Kane says he’s looking forward to moving on.

“There’s definitely a lot more to it than some of the funny story lines that came out,” said Kane. “Sometimes you have to just let a story die and I guess that’s what we’ll do. But it was definitely disappointing with how everything shook out and some of the information was misconstrued, misleading, some of the facts kind of came out wrong or didn’t come out at all. That’s to be expected.

“But I’m definitely glad to be moving on and I’m going to have a fresh start with a new team. I’m looking forward to the future for sure.”

One of the things that rubbed Kane the wrong way is the notion he elected to have surgery on his shoulder when he could’ve waited until the season was over.

“I had it [shoulder injury] last year and it got worse over the last two months,” Kane said. “And actually, when they went in there to do the surgery, they found a hole in my shoulder as well and some other things they had to fix. It was a little more complicated than everyone thought at first, so it’s really good we got it fixed now.

“That some people thought I was having surgery just to end my season, that’s so not true. That’s the biggest thing I want to make clear.”

Kane said the pain reached a point last week where could no longer play through it.

“It’s just common sense that I would have wanted to play in my hometown in front of friends and family where I know everyone has tickets to the game,” said Kane, who played through a fracture ankle and a fractured hand this season. “Of course I would have wanted to. But unfortunately, it comes to a point where you just can’t do it anymore because of the things I was going through. I couldn’t do what I needed to do out there. It (his shoulder) would come out twice in a period, once a period, sometimes it wouldn’t come out. It was tough to judge and get a feel for it.”

In the second game following the All-Star Break, a loss in Philadelphia on Jan. 29, Kane’s shoulder problems worsened.

“It came out twice in the third period and it just became harder and harder to continue. It was getting worse. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where it would become possibly career-threatening or maybe not be able to recover fully.”

As for the tracksuit incident with teammate Dustin Byfuglien, Kane said he had no real issue with it.

“I’m actually one of the guys that doesn’t mind that kind of stuff, to be honest,” he said. “That’s kind of a funny part for me hearing all this. I’m a pretty tough guy mentally and physically. I think if people thought it was just about that, that’s fine. That gives me a pretty good laugh.”

Kane spent six seasons with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise scoring 109 goals and 222 points in 361 games.

He’s excited for the fresh start Buffalo presents.

“Once I talked to [Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray] and talked to my agent [Craig Oster of Newport Sports], there’s a lot of excitement for the future in Buffalo,” said Kane. “Just looking at next year, they’re going to get a top pick and that’s exciting. Just to have one of those two guys maybe to play with next year, plus the other young players on that team.

“The sense I got from Buffalo is that, yes they’re rebuilding but they’re not going to sit around and wait. They’re looking to do something now. It’s nice to go somewhere where you feel wanted and you feel that they want to put you in a situation to have success.”

Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

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Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

“We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

“I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.